New stay-at-home orders for counties with low ICU capacities


Alex Drew

San Francisco’s current orders are to social distance, wear a mask, and to limit any activities from home according to local officials. (Alex Drew / Golden Gate Xpress)

A new stay-at-home order will begin in five regions once intensive care units in those areas fall below a 15% capacity according to an announcement from Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday.

The regional areas mentioned include Northern and Southern California, Greater Sacramento, the Bay Area, and San Joaquin Valley. Newsom stated that the new orders will take effect in the regions that fall below 15% of ICU capacities in those areas. Once a region’s ICU falls below the 15% rate, they will go into the new temporary orders for three weeks.

“Four out of the five we anticipate as early as the next day or two, or as early as late within the next week,” Newsom says. The four regions projected to fall below the 15% rate are all of them except The Bay Area region. The Bay Area, which includes San Francisco, might have a few extra days our current projections suggest mid maybe late december but all within the next few weeks.”

According to Newsom each region will take the new orders within the first 24 hours of ICU’s falling below the 15% capacity levels

In the last 24 hours ,18,591 new cases were reported according to Newsom. Currently there are 156,994 new cases and 1,985 new deaths in the Bay Area and a total of 1,264,539 cases in California.

New orders in sectors of the regional areas will include people to stop gathering with others that do not live inside their households, and to continue to follow the mask mandate. Other places that must shut down when the order is effective are hair salons, personal care services, bars and wineries.

San Francisco’s current orders are to social distance, wear a mask, and to limit any activities from home according to local officials.

Updated restrictions also include the closures of:

  • Playgrounds that are open
  • Any indoor movie theater that is operating
  • Indoor recreation centers
  • Museums
  • Aquariums
  • Zoo’s
  • Indoor and outdoor dining

Once regions begin new orders restaurants will be available for takeout and delivery options. Currently in San Francisco dining hours must be stopped from 10 p.m., but will allow delivery and take out after hours officials said. 

Places that are allowed to remain open once a region’s ICU falls below 15%, are schools that have received a waiver and have the required oversight and safety protocol. As of now all SFUSD schools have remained closed  during the pandemic. 

Retail stores that are remaining open must keep it at 20% capacity, Newsom said. “What we want to avoid is concentrating just in large box retail, too much concentrated retail activity that actually would induce more mixing,” said Newsom. 

Any non-essential travel will be temporarily restricted and will take place with the new stay-at-home order. Currently no regions have gone under the new restrictions. 

“The bottom line is if we don’t act now our hospital system will be overwhelmed,” Newsom said, “if we don’t act now we’ll continue to see a death rate climb. More lives lost.”